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Priest offers spiritual survival guide for recession
A priest and author says religious leaders aren't paying attention to older people hit by recession.
September 17th, 2011
10:00 PM ET

Priest offers spiritual survival guide for recession

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - Sooner or later, it happens to each of us, Richard Rohr says.

“There always will be at least one situation in our lives that we cannot fix, control, explain, change or even understand,” the Franciscan priest said.

Maybe you’ve been laid off from a job you held for years. Perhaps you’ve experienced a nasty divorce. Or maybe the crisis is more subtle: You suddenly realized that you’ll never have the life you dreamed of living.

Any life-changing moment can knock a person down. But it can also open doors if, as Rohr puts it, a person learns how to “fall upward.”

Rohr, a 68-year-old Roman Catholic author and internationally known speaker, says older Americans face a problem: Religious leaders aren’t paying much attention to them.

Much of contemporary religion is geared toward teaching people how to navigate the first half of their lives, when they’re building careers and families. Rohr calls it a “goal-oriented” spirituality.

Yet there’s less help for people dealing with the challenges of aging: the loss of health, the death of friends, and coming to terms with mistakes that cannot be undone, he says.

Rohr’s new book, “Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life,” is his attempt to fill that void. It also functions as a spiritual survival guide for hard times as millions of Americans young and old struggle to cope with “falling”: losing their homes, careers and status.

Rohr says he coined the phrase “falling upward” to describe a paradox. Nearly everyone will fall in life because they'll confront some type of loss, he says. Yet failure can lead to growth if a person makes the right decisions.

“I’ve met people who because of the loss of things and security have been able to find grace, freedom and new horizons,” he said.

If you’re falling in any area of your life, Rohr says, one of the first skills to learn is accepting surprises.

He says it’s easy for people to turn bitter when things don’t go as planned. He sees such people all the time, whether throwing tantrums at the airport because of long lines or flocking to angry rallies in opposition to some form of social change.

“You start attacking anybody else who is not like you,” Rohr said. “If you don’t know how to deal with exceptions, surprise and spontaneity by the time you’re my age, you become a predictable series of responses of paranoia, blame and defensiveness.”

Why suffering is necessary

Rohr’s book may address contemporary issues, but the wisdom is old. He extracts insights from sources as varied as Greek mythology, Catholic mysticism and fairy tales like Cinderella.

Such stories often teach similar lessons about hard times: Suffering is necessary, the “false self” must be abandoned, and “everything belongs, even the sad, absurd and futile parts.” Rohr, who has also written “Quest for the Grail,” a book on mythology, says people have learned these hard lessons for centuries through myth.

The heroes in mythological stories follow the same pattern. They must first experience humiliation, loss and suffering before finding enlightenment. They are often forced on their journey by a crisis.

No contemporary American is going to be asked to fight a monster, but an event like the evaporation of a retirement fund or the death of a spouse can force you to summon strength you didn’t know you had, Rohr says.

The key is not resisting the crisis.

“You have to allow the circumstances of God and life to break you out of your egocentric responses to everything,” he said. “If you allow ‘the other’ - other people, other events, other religions - to influence you, you just keep growing.”

That growth, though, is accompanied by death - the death of the “false self,” Rohr said. The false self is the part of your self tied to your achievements and possessions.

When your false self dies, you start learning how to base your happiness on more eternal sources, he says.

“You start drawing from your life within,” Rohr said. “You learn to distinguish from the essential self and the self that’s window dressing.”

Those who break through the crisis and lose their false selves become different people: less judgmental, more generous and better able to ignore “evil or stupid things,” he says.

It may sound esoteric, Rohr says, but many of us have met older people like this. They possess a “bright sadness”: they’ve suffered but they still smile and give.

“I’ve seen that in the wonderful older people in my life,” Rohr says. “There’s a kind of gravitas they have. … There’s an easy smile on their faces. These are the people who laugh, who heal, who build bridges, who don’t turn bitter.”

Rohr says this bright sadness isn’t confined to older people.

“I've met 11-year-old children in cancer wards who are in the second half of life,” he said in a recent interview with Amazon.com, “and I have met 68-year-old men like me who are still in the first half of life.”

Learning the ‘grace of failure’

Rohr’s book has found some fans in high places who were touched by his insights.

Father Gerry Blaszczak, a chaplain at Fairfield University in Connecticut, says Rohr’s book challenges the notion that success is a natural result of being religious.

“Our culture is prone to imagine that growth takes place in a sort of constant, upward movement,” he says. “Even our religious culture tends to focus on success and stability as ideals for religious growth.”

Rohr’s book reminds people about the “grace of failure,” Blaszczak says.

“In the Christian tradition, loss, collapse and failure have always been seen as not only unavoidable, but even necessary on the path to wisdom, freedom and personal maturity,” Blaszczak said.

He says he knows older people who struggled to rebuild their identities after they poured much of their earlier lives’ energies into professional and personal success.

“It is not that these professional or personal ideas were necessarily bad in themselves,” he said. “It is more that they proved inadequate. We invested way too much in them. We thought our identities could be formed by them.”

Jim Finley, a retreat leader and Catholic scholar, says Rohr is reminding people about the value of elders.

“Our culture tends to be youth-oriented, and a lot of spirituality is youth oriented,” says Finley, author “The Contemplative Heart.” “But our elders are the embodiment of the wisdom that life matters at a much deeper level than what we can achieve and produce.”

Brian McLaren, author of “The Naked Spirituality,” says Rohr’s book touches on an important paradox that you probably won’t hear in a Sunday morning sermon: “Imperfect people” are sometimes more equipped than “perfect people” to help those who are struggling.

“The person who never makes a mistake and always manages to obey the rules is often a compassionless person, because he sees people for whom the wheels have fallen off and he wonders what’s wrong with them,” he said. “But the person who feels that he has ruined his life often has more capacity for humility and compassion.”

McLaren says Rohr’s book helped reveal to him how much of his youthful spiritual energy was driven by narrow concerns.

“I’m embarrassed as I’m getting older about how much of my energy and vitality as a younger man was driven by ego and a win-lose mentality.”

Today Rohr seems driven by something else: The need for rest.

For years, his life has been a whirlwind. He’s traveled the globe speaking at retreats on everything from men’s spirituality to Catholic mysticism.

He also founded the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico, an organization that encourages acts of justice rooted in prayer and respect for other religious traditions.

Yet after almost seven decades of living, Rohr said,  “I am still a mystery to myself.”

Rohr plans on solving some of that mystery. He says he’s going to retire in two years to spend more time at his home in New Mexico. He says he needs more time for contemplation.

“The first half of life, you write the text,” he said. “The second half of your life is when you write the commentary. You have to process what it all meant.”

As Rohr withdraws from speaking and writing, he will be challenged to follow his own advice. He’ll spend less energy on his “false self” as his old identity dissolves.

He says he’s ready, though, to fall upward. If he lost his position as a priest, author and respected speaker, he says he would still feel secure.

“Most of us don’t learn this until it is taken away, like losing the security of your 401(k). Then the learning either starts or you circle the wagons,” he said. “I know who I am beyond my roles.”

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Books • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Economy

soundoff (1,015 Responses)
  1. susan

    Why aren't any of these posts about Rohr's book? Sounds like a thoughtful, interesting book and I'll probably read it. As someone approaching the 2nd half of life, with greatly diminished retirement prospects, I'm looking for all the advice I can find. I do not participate in organized religion but instead try to find wisdom wherever it exists - and understand that there are good people - and bad - in all aspects of life. Try reading what the man has to say instead of condeming it out of hand. You might be wiser - and less angry - for it.

    September 19, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • SCAtheist

      It looks like mindless nonsense picked out of thin air to me.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • chief

      yeah i'd take advice from someone thats never had a 9-7 job where you could loose it anyday for some arbitrary reason... no this yahoo just has to keep kids quiet and write books...

      September 19, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • SCAtheist

      If you want to get through a recession, don't give ridiculous people like this your money.

      September 19, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  2. Mike B

    I don't get it. Atheist don't believe in god, yet they are constantly reading and posting on religious articles on the web.

    Why are you so interested in something that you don't believe in? Are you just a bunch of angry trolls?

    It's funny that you have to hide behind the anonymity on the internet. Why not come out in the open and voice you opinion and take a beating with the "majority stick".

    September 19, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • William Demuth

      Mike I have!

      And I speak here for the same reason I speak out against other forms of racisim and hatred.

      Your intolerance, and sense of egocetricisim is unacceptable in modern society.

      Our belief is just as relevant as yours, and far more informed as well.

      Cheers!

      September 19, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • SCAtheist

      "Mike B" jeez that would help us uniquely identify you right?

      Atheists are out writing books and speaking around the country, even in the military.

      Theists have been running the world for a very long time. Now you get to read what we think. You can't answer our arguments, so you just throw out hate speech.

      checking............checking...........sorry I'm not angry; actually I am laughing.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • maniacmudd

      william... GREAT POST!
      scAtheist....GREAT POST!!

      September 19, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • DamianKnight

      "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." – Voltaire (attributed).

      September 19, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • chief

      re mike b.... people more educated than you accuse me of being an athiest.... however i am not.... its just i dont subscribe to an organization that harbors peds and practices pagan acts in the name of my God....

      September 19, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      If the majority of one's country believed in zombies, magic, and that humans were given this planet to do as they pleased..... Yes, you would be "interested" (more concern) too and do what you can to assure ANY forum that perpetuates ignorance has at least a counter point.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • Peter

      I'm with you, Mike! The chip on SCAtheist's shoulder is revealing itself. Now we are holding a grudge over who has run the world before our time???? Please! Let's stick to anyone who believes in a God today, because of the past umpteen thousand years. Brilliant! I guess I should hate Germans because Hitler was one.

      September 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      LOL @ "Mike B" - "It's funny that you have to hide behind the anonymity on the internet"

      September 19, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
  3. SCAtheist

    Man this article is stupid – I think these guys just shake up their heads and see what falls out.

    September 19, 2011 at 11:39 am |
  4. God

    Material success is by no means the result of being religious. Haven't you listened to anything I have said?

    September 19, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • SCAtheist

      In fact it's harder for a dinosaur to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Peter

      that would be a camel...unless that was a joke I missed, goes to show how atheists throw stones without looking or knowing what they are throwing at.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • SCAtheist

      The joke is on the creationists who actually believe man walked the earth with dinosaurs. Keep up man!

      September 19, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • William Demuth

      Peter

      Rest assured, he knows the original fiction!

      September 19, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • JohnR

      You mean it's EASIER for a dinosaur/camel ....

      September 19, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      @god – you suck

      September 19, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • Peter

      Yep, I must be missing it entirely, so I'll stay out of this one. I only joined this forum about 10 minutes ago, I'm not the other Peter...but creationists don't believe we walked with dinos, that would be evolutionists, so I will assume this is another joke.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • SCAtheist

      Right, thanks John R.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • SCAtheist

      Peter,

      Evolutionists know dinosaurs and man lived in different eras. We have the bones you know,so creationists have to admit dinosaurs existed, so they believe they existed at the same time. Read your buddy Rick Perry's book.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • Peter

      Not speaking for all Christians, but my understanding is that yes, there were dinosaurs, as you say we have the bones and I believe they are mentioned in the bible, but not in names that scientists came up with in the 18/1900s. Terms such as behemoth, leviathan, tanniyn (dragon) were used. Yes, I don't believe there was a 65 million years ago.

      September 19, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      Just speaking of dinosaurs, which is completely off-topic, but they've discovered that dinosaurs actually had feathers! Apparently they found feathers in the amber, a la Jurassic Park. I'm glad we just realized this. As far as blockbuster productions, giant chickens chasing children and archaeologists just doesn't seem nearly as terrifying.

      September 19, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Damian

      Archaeopteryx was actually NAMED after a feather.

      They have been aware of this since the 1980's.

      Also not some of these "birds" still exist. In fact dinosaurs evolved into todays birds.

      September 19, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  5. Peter

    As usual the comments are sliding off the topic. This article is excellent and I say that as one who, like millions of others, has lost everything in the past 3 years. In my opinion this article is spot on and well expressed. You don't even begin to find yourself until you fall flat on your face. I think because then you are forced to seek/learn. I entered the experience as a simple believer in God with no real knowledge of Christ. No doubt I found him. While there are light years of learning and finding to go, to read some of the dribble that comes from the haters on this site, I either want to toss my cookies or go into "William Wallace anger mode"! Church/Religion is not for the Saved, it is for the lost. My heart bleeds for the shallow people here that attack Christians in these forums...I think you are the "armchair gutless" of society. The over opinionated negative who get thrills out pushing people's buttons. More power to Rohr for his compassion and wisdom and endless search.

    September 19, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Peter

      "My heart bleeds for the shallow people here that attack Christians in these forums...I think you are the "armchair gutless" of society. The over opinionated negative who get thrills out pushing people's buttons. More power to Rohr for his compassion and wisdom and endless search."

      LOL! So that insult now makes you the very thing this comment was about. Nice job!

      September 19, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • Peter

      Not at all. I don't go to atheist forums or similar and attack your beliefs and criticize you. You have come to this forum and laid your comments down. I am on the defense and standing up for what this article is about. There we no bad words here, no comments like "...tell Christians their full of crap." I think you need to hang with your own and stop going out of your way to bad mouth folks when it's not warranted. You come to an forum about a Christian fellow and attack, I say you'd better arm yourself better than you have instead of trying to bring me into your fold.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Peter

      "I say you'd better arm yourself better than you have instead of trying to bring me into your fold."

      Too late you already are. LOL!

      September 19, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • William Demuth

      This Peter VS Peter debate has a schizophrenic quality to it.

      Are you twins seperated at birth?

      September 19, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • Peter

      Thank God William!

      September 19, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
  6. John

    For those dismayed by the negative comments regarding priests, religion, or the Catholic Church, please remember that a cross section of those who comment here on CNN is one that is dramatically skewed in regards to the overall norms of society. Also anonymity emboldens unhappy, disgruntled and chronically negative people to voice opinions they would rarely confess to in a truly public forum.

    September 19, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • William Demuth

      Some of us use our names.

      Some of us speak out openly.

      Some of us shall NOT be intimidated.

      Your bishops and cardinals and deacons know me QUITE well.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Peter

      "Also anonymity emboldens unhappy, disgruntled and chronically negative people to voice opinions they would rarely confess to in a truly public forum."

      Total BS we talk about it all the time how christianity is one of the thing that is ruining this country. The reason I post here is to show others that it is OK to tell christians their full of crap, that it's time to stand up and say enough is enough. I an not the least unhappy or disgruntled. Personally I see christianity as a bunch of hypocrites, full of greed, too lazy to help take care of this planet, consuming all the resources while proclaiming believe in god, the creator all that we are destroying.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • Christ

      Anonymity of your God emboldens your priests to molest children too.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • SCAtheist

      Thanks Dr. John. Try being an atheist in South Carolina. Using my real name could cost me my job.

      As far as your norms for society. That's what you hide behind (along with not posting your last name).

      September 19, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • Peter

      Peter...as long as you feel it's OK for Christians to tell you that you are full of crap, then it's fine.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • leecherius

      Christ..so you are stereotyping religious leaders as all being pedophiles. Somehow I find that hard to accept. People are people , human beings , religious and non-religious are all capable of gross atrocities. Joseph Stalin was an atheist , he indirectly killed 20 million people. And Pol Pot , Adolph Hitler , though not necessarily atheist , the list goes on and on. It's much like the gun control argument , guns don't kill people , people kill people. Religion doesn't commit these acts, people do.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • William Demuth

      leecherius

      Stalin used the SAME approach as Christ, elevating himself ABOVE man so people would worship him.

      Worshiping ANY mortal man, be it Stalin, or Christ, or Budda, or Moses, or Justin Bieber, leads to abominations.

      Religion as a geo political force demands blind faith.

      Regretably, it was not the only one.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • chief

      i think anonimity was used during the inquisition.....

      September 19, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  7. Alfonzo Muchanzo

    He is all knowing, you weren't aware? Simply read his posts and he clearly has the answers to all of lifes woes and problems. If only Demuth ruled the world, we'd have a perfect utopia. Sighhhhh (hint: sarcasm)

    September 19, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • William Demuth

      I have no desire to lead.

      Frankly I enjoy watching you all stew in your own filth.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • bristoltwit palin... America's favorite dancing cow

      Mmmmm..... filth

      September 19, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • leecherius

      Wishing ill on your fellow man for any reason, in any form , is hardly productive in any sense.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • William Demuth

      leecherius

      Wishing is like praying.

      It serves no purpose.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • leecherius

      Semantics...you get the picture...

      September 19, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • SCAtheist

      Actually you are the ones claiming to know everything. As far as Mr. Demuth goes, I only see admitting he doesn't know everything in his posts.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • leecherius

      Frankly I enjoy watching you all stew in your own filth...

      Sound like anyone you'd want to know or expect to help you in time of need?

      September 19, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • William Demuth

      leecherius

      I will gladly help myself to your women (if they aren't chubsi-ubsies), and your wealth at the first sign of vulnerability

      September 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • Alfonzo Muchanzo

      @William – I kinda feel sorry for you, but then am repulsed at the same time. Regardless of your belief, or lack of, you are the epitome of everything wrong with this world today. Spew hatred towards anyone you disagree with, want to see those who are not like you fail and be tortured, and then would love to take from those being tortured for your own benefit......class act you are.

      September 19, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Alfonzo Muchanzo

      Thank you kindly sir

      I am here all week!

      Don't forget to try the halibut!

      September 19, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
  8. Christ

    The REAL role of religion in a recession is this:
    Religion says that even if you have dug yourself into a hole, don't stop digging. Even if there is no evidence to suggest that these suicidal ways will ever lead to anything good, just continue doing them. Cos that is what God wants.

    September 19, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • leecherius

      Romans 13:8

      September 19, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • Skegeeace

      Um, pretty sure the Bible doesn't say that. LOL Have you even read it?

      September 19, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      Ske, have you ever contemplated eternity. If this life is less than a flash of a milisecond in comparison why would this life even matter. Why not just take out 200K in student loans, rack up debt, then die and who cares not your problem.

      September 19, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  9. leecherius

    William Demuth...your one-track thought process..it's disturbing. When you have acquired all knowledge get back with us.

    September 19, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • William Demuth

      God called.

      He needs 72 virgin idiots to service one of his bombers.

      I gave him your name!

      September 19, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • leecherius

      point made..

      September 19, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  10. Rainer Braendlein

    Some Christian advices:

    First, never run up debts, but keep a modest bank deposit (for example 5 times your gross income). Assumed, you would lose your job, you had some money to bridge the time of umemployment until you have found a new job. Never run up debts.

    How to avoid debts? Live a modest life. Don't feed at burgers of McDonalds, but buy your food at the supermarket. Don't afford a car, but use public transport. Try to establish a flat share (of course this is not everybody's taste). Put on a sweater at home and you will save heating costs. Do you really have to feed like a bricklayer, I mean, do you really have to eat meat every day? Reduce your meat consume and you will save a lot of money, besides it is more healthy to it less meat.

    Secondly, everybody has a special gift or talent, which he should discover. One is a borne bricklayer, the next is a borne tailor, the next one is a borne engineer. Not eveybody has the gift to be an engineer or even a scientist. Maybe you are one of the people, which are more appropriate for any craft. A society will work, when the people serve each other with their gifts and manpower.

    Thirdly, dispose of your TV. TV eats up too much time and is filled with s-ex and crime. You lose precious time and your mind is polluted with nasty pictures.

    Fourthly, become a Christian. You need God's help, you need some fortune. Imagine your future boss. It is a big difference, whether he wants to promote you or whether he wants to utilize you. You need God's help to find a good boss.

    Fifthly, read the book "The Cost of Discipleship" by pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This book will show you, how Christianity really works. Accept Jesus as Lord over all areas of your life and he will kindly guide you (assumed, you have yet received infant baptism: this infant baptism is the divine call to follow Jesus. When you follow Jesus, your baptism has become meaningful.).

    Sixtlhy, as long as you have got a job, help other people in need. Maybe the poor people, you support, will pray for you.

    September 19, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Sorry, I meant born not borne!

      September 19, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • Peter

      “Assumed, you would lose your job, you had some money to bridge the time of umemployment until you have found a new job. Never run up debts.”

      Too late most of the debt that was run up was done by christians consumed by their own greed. Plus if you look at most of the politicians running this country who claim to be christians it explains why this country is trillions of dollars in debt. You’re never run up debt comment is hysterical given the fact our gov’t is the worse culprit. LOL! Why don’t you try using you lines on those you vote in this coming election. If I had to bet on it – many christians and politicians don’t have the guts to take a hard core stance on getting out of debt. I am not a christian, I don't watch TV, I am not in debt so you don't need religion to do it. DUH.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • Skegeeace

      @Peter: So....this is "Beliefnet". This is an area of posting for people who are BELIEVERS. Real Christians know that the Word teaches against being in debt- so the "Christians" you so baseless accuse of being greedy were probably not Christians at all, but self-centric, egomaniacle people who think they can reap whatever they want in material goods regardless of the consequences. Please take your self-absorbed, religion-hating self elsewhere to comment- try the politics section. I hear there's a never-ending shortage of trolls over there.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Skegeeace

      *baselessly

      September 19, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Peter

      Congratulations that you don't watch TV. That is yet very much.

      You are right, you don't need religion not to run up debts. Nobody, atheist or Christian or something else, should run up debts.

      I would like to vote, but unfortunately I am a German and live in Bavaria.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • Peter

      "Please take your self-absorbed, religion-hating self elsewhere to comment- try the politics section. I hear there's a never-ending shortage of trolls over there."

      Ain't gonna happen, this is an entertainment site built for advertising dollars. You're not the moderator of this blog either, so deal with it. If you can't take then you leave.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • Tysic

      You could give up your religion. You'd get a 10% raise and week ends off. That, and you'd have the satisfaction of not living a delusional life. It's quite nice.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • itsjustme

      "First, never run up debts, but keep a modest bank deposit (for example 5 times your gross income). Assumed, you would lose your job, you had some money to bridge the time of umemployment until you have found a new job. Never run up debts."

      This advice went out with the disco ball, bub.

      YOu are well intended but now the average amount of time for unemployment is 6 months. Try being a 99er and being out of work for 2 years - how long do you think that money will hold you, if you happen to be out of work much much longer than 99 weeks and you can't find a job?

      And if you have dependents, forget about it, Charlie. That money will vanish in an eyeblink.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  11. trigtwit palin... America's favorite tard baby.

    ... drool ...

    September 19, 2011 at 10:52 am |
  12. Binky42

    If you lose your job it means you did something wrong and God is punishing you. I mean, what other explanation could there be? It sure can't be the Republicans who are blocking any kind of financial relief in congress, after all, doesn't God WANT you to vote Republican?

    September 19, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • Alfonzo Muchanzo

      You clearly know nothing about Christianity or politics. You do, however, seem to believe whatever garbage the politicians say as factual truth, probably with left leaning selective vision. Good for you.....

      September 19, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • Julie

      Why is there so much anger toward religion? People that are religious are not perfect, that is why they attend church. We are all sinners. However, that is not the point. We do need to change our ways as it appears that our society is becoming more and more angry – less tolerant of one another. We are all in this mess together. So we need to work together to pull us out. I just think that no real plan has been developed to resolve the complex mess that we are in today. I am not sure any one person can resolve everything. There are too many things to fix. Now America's dollar is starting to impact the world. Everyone is going down with us, unless we can make a change with other nations as well. It isn't just about America at this point in the game.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • William Demuth

      Julie

      We speak out against injustice.

      You see, OUR beliefs are based in reality and modernity, and we do NOT need Bronze Age mythology, nor the charlatans who translate, mutate and hijack them to know the difference between right and wrong.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Leafonthewind

      @William Demuth: who is this "we" you're representing? I'm an atheist, but please do not presume to speak for me. I have complete tolerance for the beliefs of others as long as they refrain from enacting faith-based laws to govern my behavior. You are correct in one thing, though: a belief in god is not a requirement for good behavior. All you require is common sense, empathy, and honor. You, Mr. Demuth, are too angry by far. Ease down a little.

      September 19, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Leafonthewind

      I speak for a militant branch of Reality called, well Reality!

      As far as anger, I enjoy it. I wont live to see the collapse of theese cults, but I can and will do anything within my power to hasten it.

      September 19, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
  13. Julie

    We definitely need to help all people in our society. It doesn't matter if it is through a religious or community service effort.
    We all fail for different reasons and with the economy faltering, we need now more than ever to help each other cope. It doesn't matter if you are 6 or 80 years old. Life is not easy. We need people to help coax us through the tough times. We are all in the same boat. Even if you are wealthy and life is good, the people around you that are falling and this will impact you at some point.

    September 19, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Peter

      "We need people to help coax us through the tough times."

      So I take it you are not a christian then since if you were it is suppose to be your god that coaxes you through the tough time or did it stop talking to you. 😉 By the way the reason others don't help those in need – it's called greed. What is funny is a christian will try to convince you that the US is a christian nation but how can that be with all the greed and corruption in our society. The answer is the actually don't follow the teachings of their christ. 😉

      September 19, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • William Demuth

      Julie

      You seem good hearted, so I am concerned you don't seem to realize MANY of us believe organized religion is part of the problem, and can play no role in resolving it.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • Julie

      Ok – but is blaming a religion really the answer? I think that religion is secondary to the problems that we are facing. It doesn't matter if you are religious or not. It matters that we work together to get things resolved. Slamming each other is not the best way to handle working together. I agree that we are all thinking about ourselves....and not thinking about others is what got us into this mess...that happened to sneak up on us. We have all been selfish, because times were good. Now we need to stop blaming and start seeing how we can resolve all of this.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • May

      What we really need is ideas. Unfortunately, ideas are always argued and the obvious reaction is to forget the idea. I think if you have an idea, you should work to improve it until it can work.

      Now that I say that to myself out loud, I think I may want to quit my office job.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • William Demuth

      Julie

      I do NOT resist any attempt at doing greater good.

      What I have seen over the last fifty years does make me wary about "cooperation", because many of those like me who came before paid a terrible price for speaking out.

      Christianity, as a private sector force might be able to do great things, yet I don't see it.

      As a public sector force I see it trying to do great evils DAILY, and I won't be silenced in speaking out against them.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • Peter

      "I agree that we are all thinking about ourselves....and not thinking about others is what got us into this mess...that happened to sneak up on us."

      It didn't sneak up on us. What happened is people got lazy didn't read up on the loans they were getting. They didn't watch the money reports that were coming out saying the bubble was going to burst. They didn't read the fine print on the loans they were signing. They didn't save 20% for the down payment and felt entitled to get it with no money down. It's plain old fashion greed and sense of entitlement that got them in their personal messes. They reaped what they sowed. You want to fix this problem, the people have to stop being so lazy, get off their butts and organized their affairs. You want a great example the person who is collecting unemployment while turning down a minimum wage job because unemployment pays better. What that moron doesn't get is the unemployment will run out, and the burger flipping job will get filled, and you will be without any money coming in. At least the burger flipping job is long term. Oh and then to match what you're getting from unemployment – get a second job! There are a ton of jobs out there, companies are hiring but maybe not where you live, well time to relocate. There are solutions but people have gotten too lazy to do the work. Need food, start a community garden, the choices are endless.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • Julie

      I agree Peter..there are those of us that are lazy. Or for whatever reason have given up. If there were some way to give people hope of getting a job, they probably would get out and work. I am sure there are those that would rather live of the system. But most people have pride and want to work. Those are the people that we need to focus on and try to help. Maybe the others will follow. It sounds good anyway 🙂

      September 19, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Peter

      "But most people have pride and want to work. Those are the people that we need to focus on and try to help. Maybe the others will follow. It sounds good anyway"

      Then it's time to move where the jobs are, simple as that. I have a friend in another state she has numerous opening and hardly anyone is applying for the work. It's time to let go of where you're living at and be willing to move, then you'll get a job. I have relocated 4 times in my life, it's not bad, it takes about 9 months to learn your way around, meet new friends. The upside is then you have other places to stay when you want a vacation. My friends from other states love it that they have a new place to come visit.

      September 19, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  14. Peacemaker

    WOW......... the comments posted here are downright ...... hateful! I am not offended by atheists who have their bone to pick or have there opposing opinion. It is good to have Faith challenged because it strengthens believers!

    However, the pedophile comments and accusations are OFFENSIVE! I KNOW Richard Rorh, have read his books and heard him speak numerous times. He is a wonderful soul! I consider him a prophet!

    To CONDEMN ALL PRIESTS because of the crimes of a few, IS WRONG! I am the first to want pedophiles thrown in jail for life! But... the condemn all priests IS not only cruel but .....UNJUST!

    Condemning all priests as pedophiles is like saying that "all Latinos are illegal" or "all African-Americans are on welfare" or "all Gay men like little boys"!!!!!!! IT IS WRONG!

    September 19, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • William Demuth

      Again.

      The church is corrupt, and shelters them.

      If YOU support the church, then YOU are guilty.

      It's not that difficult to grasp.

      Not only were Nazi's hung at Nuremberg, but their political and financial supporters as well.

      Ask not for who the rope calls, it calls for thee.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Peacemaker

      @William...... the hierarchy the Vatican shelters them, defends them! WE, the people in the pews..... DO NOT! And to condemn ONE priest, in this case Richard Rohr of being a pedophile........ is WRONG!

      September 19, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • William Demuth

      Peacemaker

      When Justice comes around, the dollars YOU put in the plate were used to protect men who buggered children.

      They want their pound of flesh now, and it is too late to distance yourself now.

      Admit your personal complicity, or your destiny is preordained.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • observer

      The agenda of these 'specimens' is to bring about 'Godlessness' and enforce that in society,
      The only way its agenda can be achieved is by attacking people of Faith. What atheists fail to understand is they are screaming and kicking at the Rock with a pair of rubber boots, they are just ending up hurting themselves.
      Without acknowledging God in their lives they can't heal and are just 'BITTER'

      September 19, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • Rick

      "Condemning all priests as pedophiles is like saying that "all Latinos are illegal" or "all African-Americans are on welfare" or "all Gay men like little boys"

      I agree it is wrong. How different is it than "all people are sinful"?

      September 19, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • William Demuth

      observer

      Actually the plan is simple.

      Make the religions war against each other. Preferably a conflict with millions or even billions of casualties.

      Even now in your beloved UN, we use YOUR tools, to bring hatred between all the cults of Abraham.

      Have Jew kill Muslim. Have Christian kill Jew, and have the Muslims kill everyone.

      A simple plan indeed, but it DOES seem to be working, wouldn't you agree?

      September 19, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • Rainbow

      @Peacemaker-Majority of the priests and nuns served God truly.To those who served in Truth and lived exemplary lives of service, we are thankful for all the good they have done. To the minority that really did not, we know justice will be served in truth.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • Binky42

      The Catholic Church shelters pedophile priests. The congregation supports the Catholic Church. Therefore, the congregation supports those who shelter pedophiles. It's not really difficult to understand. Just talk to God in your living room, and stop giving a weekly donation to an organization that molests little children. Duh.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • observer

      no silly willy think much about thine destructive power? think not, the earth is in his hands not yours!

      September 19, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • Peter

      "'Without acknowledging God in their lives they can't heal and are just 'BITTER'"

      That is not true at all. It's amazing the lies christians will tell and spin for their own agenda. All of the people I know that don't believe in a god are really happy. Happier than most christians I know. Christians live in fear, fear of going to hell, fear of sinning against their god.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • Peter

      "no silly willy think much about thine destructive power? think not, the earth is in his hands not yours!"

      Well that explains why it's going to total crap since your god doesn't exist and you're to lazy to take care of this planet. If christians believe as you do then it explains why they are such poor sheppards in the welfare of this planet that their god gave them. LOL!

      September 19, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • happy ness

      If you are really happy people then it should reflect.It does not, and that is overwhelming proof of your bitterness and anger.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • William Demuth

      observer

      SIlly child.

      If it IS in"his hands" then he should be crucified again.

      His stewardship has left us in a world where the few have all, and millions starve.

      Even if your God existed he wouldn't deserve worship, only overthrow.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:00 am |
  15. ANN

    @Peacemaker, as you can see from my comments, I am indeed shameless and also a Bigot

    September 19, 2011 at 10:17 am |
  16. good stuff!

    Good stuff – this is a wise man, and I applaud him for pointing us all to what's it really matter ad what our goal in life is... I am non-religious and follow teaching of Echkart Tolle. Richard Rohr, at least from reading this article, points to a similar path. It is up to each of us to follow, or not!

    September 19, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • Peacemaker

      Well said!

      September 19, 2011 at 10:18 am |
  17. William Demuth

    Peacemaker

    Well at some point you can.

    You are known by the company you keep.

    All Germans were NOT Nazi's, yet all Germans paid the price for what they did.

    If the sins pass a threshold, then history permits the judgement

    September 19, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  18. Befuddled

    Mention God or religion and as sure as the day is long, Atheist will be in close tow. I just cannot understand the maldy of a minority going out of their way to persecute in what a majority believe in.

    Speaking for myself, there I many thing's I don't believe in. But I cannot think of one instance that I found it necessary to tell someone elso how foolish they are because they do.

    September 19, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • Chuckles

      Try again then,

      Do you have kids? When they do or say something stupid because of ignorance do you not correct them? What if you beg, plead and lay out reasons why playing in the street is dangerous and they still say "I BELIEVE no cars are going to hit me, plus you can't provide proof that one will hit me, so since our opinions are equally valid how about you live and let live huh?" you'd probably firs think to yourself "that kid has an awfully big vocabulary" and then probably think "I have to WARN him!"

      September 19, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • Christ

      Believe in all the pixies you want, but the moment you use your whacked out nonsense to infringe on our freedoms and impede our progress, we will stand up. That is what democracy is all about. If you want to live by laws written a thousand years ago, move to Iran.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • William Demuth

      Befuddled

      Majority? There isn't even a pluarlity.

      What God hold the majority? Either you can't count, or you are indoctrinated into blindness.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • Peacemaker

      Great comment! I too, wonder why atheists go out of their way to poke fun or argue with believers. Personally, I say let them keep blogging and trying to convince believers that we are wrong! Their arguments are full of holes.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Peacemaker

      @ William, what are you talking about???????? The majority of the world are BELIEVERS. Most humans believe that there is a GOD. The majority of Americans ...... are believers. You need to check some facts before saying otherwise!

      September 19, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • William Demuth

      Peacemaker

      So now any God is the God.

      No matter what God you worship, the MAJORITY of humans believe you are wrong.

      Beliving in Buddda, is by definition, NOT believeing in Christ.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • Chuckles

      @Peacemaker

      I'd be very interested in exactly what "holes" you have found to make you believe that atheism doesn't make sense, but believing in god does

      September 19, 2011 at 10:26 am |
  19. Peacemaker

    Your comment IF OFFENSIVE! And just ....... hateful! You can not make the broad statement that "all priests are pedophiles" any more than you can make the broad statement that all "African-Americans are on welfare" or "all Gays are sick" !!!!

    I know Richard Rorh, personally. He is a wonderful, caring man. SHAME ON YOU!

    September 19, 2011 at 10:08 am |
  20. Luis Wu

    Why is it that so many people reject modern scientific knowledge while blindly accepting ancient mythology as fact? Something's wrong with that picture.

    September 19, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • hippypoet

      thats the best way of putting it i have heard yet! i love it!

      September 19, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • Peacemaker

      Because although Science brings us knowledge it can not comfort, it can not call us to be better, it can not heal the soul.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • William Demuth

      Peacemaker

      Science provides insight, heals the sick, and is an excellent foundation for a belief system.

      Religion is a fools alternative.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • tallulah13

      Peacemaker, a comforting lie is still a lie.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:54 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.